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Aksarben Innovation Program to Benefit Start Ups

OMAHA – Nine projects, each of which may be the next big thing in business, will get their start on Wednesday, May 27, thanks to collaboration between three key Omaha groups.

Ranging in topic from human resource management to live music, dozens of entrepreneurs will begin a 14 week process organized by the Aksarben Innovation Initiative (AII), a partnership between the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO), Scott Technology Center and the Aksarben Discovery Fund.

“We are truly excited to work with these nine projects over the next couple of months to help get them to that next level of viability,” said Traci Hancock, director of UNO’s Maverick Innovations and founding member of AII. “There is no question that their success also means success for Omaha and for the state of Nebraska.”

This cohort of next-generation thinkers will spend the next 14 weeks undergoing a process known as “Lean LaunchPad,” a program developed by Stanford professor and serial entrepreneur Steve Blank, which focuses on the market viability of a concept prior to its development.

AII first launched its Lean LaunchPad program in the summer of 2014 and has already helped 12 local projects take the next step towards reality.

Wednesday, May 27, marks the introductory session for this cohort of creators with the program’s first official session beginning Monday, June 1, and running through Monday, Aug. 24, Each sessions meets from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

This year, AII’s Lean LaunchPad Efforts are being supported, in part, by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development.

Among this year’s cohort are already established business ventures like PraireSmarts, a service which allows financial advisors to better analyze risk; Trim Med, an online pharmacy that focuses on consultations and counseling for medical cost savings, health and wellness; and Quote Ya!, an online store for handcrafted albums designed to share personal messages for multiple occasions, with half a dozen others who are looking to launch new programs.

In addition to its Lean LaunchPad program, AII provides consultation and guidance to a number of other entrepreneurial projects, including a number of UNO research projects that look to address some of the world’s most pressing social problems.

About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.

Become a fan of UNO on Facebook: www.facebook.com/unomaha and follow UNO’s Twitter updates at http://twitter.com/unomaha.

Charley Reed, University of Nebraska at Omaha | May 27, 2015